Thursday, October 24, 2019

Inktober 2019 and figuring out the creative path.

The fall weather announced itself with a mass of rolling rain clouds. I could watch clouds all day.
So October has come, and we are leaning into the final stretch of 2019. It seems like it was only yesterday that I was updating this just this last October.

The last three months of every year have always been a tumultuous and hectic time for me, with moments of quiet reflection sprinkled throughout. For a lot of people, the triple play of holidays comes with so much to do in regards to family gatherings, work schedules and vacations getting all rearranged, things like that.

For me, it's always been this feeling that the year suddenly seems to speed up. Almost like watching a time lapse of a flower blooming from it's initial sprouting. As I get older, it's a feeling that permeates me more and more. In years past, it was one I began to dread. I wasn't sure why. I would often deal with depression, with this unnerving aspect of knowing that the year was ending, and I would find myself measuring up to my own self inspection. This would more often than not, manifest in looking back at my own social media timelines, or perhaps what artwork, or shows I had managed to get completed. What I had I accomplished? What did I not rise to complete?

But this year, it was more overwhelming than it had previously. If you've been following my efforts this year, it was marked by more downs than ups. I can accept that under normal circumstances. And I make every effort to present things as they are. But this was the first time that depression, insecurity, and a waning event of lack of self worth began to permeate me. It was affecting my art. It was weaving through the narrative of my day to day life, in interactions with friends, family, co-workers. It was a weight that made me ask, how much more could I do, if I was not carrying this burden?


Last year, I had a less than stellar amount of effort put into trying to accomplish the 31 day challenge of Inktober. For those of you not familiar, illustrator Jake Parker started an effort to utilize the month of October (renamed in this event as Inktober), as a challenge to adhere to a list of prompts that would fire up the initiative to draw something in ink every day.
The first prompt was Ring. The first thing that came to mind was a fae ring of mushrooms.
As of this update, I've managed to stay on time, at times just a bit behind, some days one or two prompts ahead. For my mental health, it's been something of a boon. Sometimes, when things aren't lining up in other ways, or maybe social media is overwhelmed with more insanity than usual, or some days were just seeming empty, I was able to focus in on this. I'm not even kidding, it has been insanely therapeutic to stay on target with the prompts, and even thought some of the illustrations I did weren't the best, I have managed to so far keep at it.
Number thirteen on the list was for Ash. [Left] The blue line pencil work.
An interesting visual bit I have noticed is that throughout this run of work, my style has moved all over the place. I think there is a modicum of unity in some things like linework, sparseness of details, but general design moved more freely.
I started to debut some artwork from Ardor into Inktober as well. this is Mama Tsitsiki.
But at the end of it all, it will be the feeling of accomplishment I need and have set as a goal to see this small effort through.


I also have been starting to illustrate more moments in the story of Ardor. While I work through moments in the storyline drafts I have, I end up creating more and more concept art.
Latest illustration work for Ardor, "the unexpected meeting".
It's left me in an interesting place, as I don't want to divulge too much about the storyline while it's in progress, but I also want to share and sell work based on this world I am developing. This particular one is available now in the store section, in a limited series of seven signed reproductions.


I've spoken before about feeling stuck, or closed in at times. Unable to push forward creatively, or even in the most mundane of tasks. The other day, while at work, I took the opportunity to get away from the cubicle, and walk over to Union Station. Just to clear my head, or maybe process out the thoughts in my head. Within a few moments after I got over there and sat down, a poem began to formulate for me, and the following was what came out in about ten minutes.
The final version of this reads "am alone, in a crowd" at the end now. :D
I've never been able to hold myself to sitting down and writing prose of any kind on demand. Which is a bit frustrating at times, especially when I try to plan out time to do it. It really does strike me at odd moments, and one or two bits of writing flare up, and then dissipate after the word release.

It's led to odd moments of disassociation, or maybe it's more of a break in memory, where, had it not been for copious notes I have taken since I began writing prose, I would not be able to tell you what inspired almost 90% of my writing efforts. Have any of you ever had this happen? I'd be interested to know if you did, why you think that happens.

One more note to add to this, was the above prose, and three others I had previously written, were the ones that I chose, on the spot to perform recently for a small gathering of people. I go into it a bit more in the vlog update above.

Art Supplies

Scraps KC was something I was told about, since I've been keeping my art budget frugal. But when I stumbled across a good handful of acrylic Montana markers, Copic markers, erasers, and die punches for paper work customization, I could not let these deals go ignored.
Scraps KC was exactly what I needed right now.
I do support my local art stores, more than the big box stores like Hobby Lobby (which I REALLY try to stay out of) and Micheals. But pricing like this is hard to pass up. Now, Scraps KC is a very different sort of thing. From what I understand, it's donation based and they resell what they are able to. I am certain that had I had more time to dig through endless boxes, drawers, and trays of things, I would have left there with FAR more than you see above.

If you are in the area, they are located at 3269 Roanoke Rd, Kansas City, MO 64111.
It's in an old industrial area, kind of out of the way, but well worth looking into.
Just a quick rundown of what I saw there included markers, pens, papers, school supplies of all kinds, folders, game pieces, wood blanks in various shapes, leather, hand tools, fabrics, drafting tools, paint, ribbons, really the list was too much to remember.

Photography: Macro Moments

Everyday, I've made it a point to stop and take just a few moments to appreciate some detail, some texture, something I might normally overlook. This has led to me being able to process some weird things, and be able to pull from that in my drawings, concepts, and research.
Like a small brilliant flame, this little group of fungi caught my attention one morning.
This little fungal spore was on the arm ledge of my deck. I caught the mid morning lighting so strongly in contrast to the aging darkened and weather wood it was sprouting out of. It seemed so alien, so much like what I think a tree on an alien world, or an alternate dimension could possibly look like.

So I spent some time with just my iPhone, taking as many macro styled photos as I could. I'm no pro photographer, but just like with the urban decay stuff I do that I sell on Dreamstime, I know that if I had waited these would disappeared. The next morning, I went out to check on them, to possibly get more images, but they indeed had vanished.


It's not only art supplies that I try to locate at a good price, sometimes I also find books for insanely low prices, and had found this at the very bottom of a large pile of remainder stock for $5.
Word to the wise, search long and thoroughly, and you'll be surprised what you might unearth.
I've got a small section I'm adding soon to the website, that will cover and review various books in my collection that I think you'd all find helpful, whether you're looking for some art education or tips, or maybe just a book collector like myself.

Until next time, support your local artists and businesses. Be kind to your fellow beings and always take the path less traveled. We all may live in times uncertain, but kindness, understanding, and believing in the good that is in most each and every one of us is what can bring about better days!

Mario, the Artisan Rogue
Illustrator, Voice Actor, Writer, Animal Rights Activist

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